Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
3 words: character-driven, absorbing, metafiction
Sometimes you come across a book that’s a perfectly perfect example of its genre.
This is one of them.
If you like classic mysteries, but also like a modern take on a classic… this book is gonna make you very happy.
There’re all kinds of good things going on here.
First: a book within a book. And I kid you not: I got so absorbed in the book-within-the-book that I totally forgot it was part of a larger narrative.
Then the other story line came in, I had a moment of, “Oh, yeah!” followed by a moment of disruption, and then man did I fall into the wider story.
The story-within-the-story is a classic whodunit written by a fictitious author. It’s told in the third person, and it’s a completely engaging story of a 1950s murder in an English village that’s filled with all kinds of believable characters. There’s a larger-than-life famous detective on the case. Very Agatha Christie.
The wider story is also a classic whodunit, but told in the first person, by the current-day editor of the fictitious author. The fictitious author, who recently died a possibly suspicious death. She’s an unlikely detective, but as a mystery aficionada, she’s picked up some skills. And she brings us along for the journey.
It’s suspenseful, it’s literary, there’s a plot that’ll keep you turning the pages, and there are characters to care about.
Perfection, I’m telling you.
Brought to us by the guy who brought us Foyle’s War on the BBC, as well as the excellent Alex Rider spy fiction series for tweens (which I read along with my nephew, and which I liked way more than I expected).
Give this book a whirl if you like… classic whodunits, books about authors and book publishing, books within books, British mysteries, Louise Penny
What’s the best mystery you’ve read this summer?